16 February 2012

weapons used on Homs

video sources analysed: heavy mortars (M-160 and M-240), artillery grenades, rocket fragments, white phosphorus, tank shelling, shilka, 73 mm rockets.
(Some editing December 11, 2012. Latest update/addition January 1, 2013, except for the plead)


Please notice: this is a layman's post. If you read it please don't skip the notes during and at the bottom of the post. Also before you decide what to think of my writings: please read through my latest post (plead added 03/06/2014).

Before the protests and demonstrations, that started in the spring of 2011, turned into armed conflict, Homs was viewed as a centre of the uprising. And despite several heavy efforts by the government army, to this date (December 11, 2012), parts of the city have remained outside government military control.

- video of demonstration: Title: "Homs sit-in Khalidiya and one of the masterpieces of 5 1 2012 Hann of freedom"(Google Translate). Uploaded January 5th, 2012.

This post is to give an impression of some of the medium and heavier weapons used on the city of Homs by the Syrian regime forces. The focus on Homs is somewhat coincidental, but since Homs until early August 2012, where the opposition forces started the fightings for control of Aleppo, was the largest city with all out uprising and military deployment, this post also gives a general idea of what kind of weaponry was deployed on the regime side from around mid February and into the autumn of 2012. The post is supplemented by the posts:

- Hama

The video-reports used in this post only represent a small fraction of the huge amount of video-reports, uploaded from Homs during the months February to November 2012. And at this time (December 11, 2012) reports are still coming, and have started to include reporting of use of aerial bombardment by fighter jets.

Pick-up mounted heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles and AA guns:
(added June 11. & 19.)

My attention was directed to a new video by a tweet from . The video shows a column of pick-ups said to be en route to Homs, most of them mounted with a variety of weapons much resembling what was seen in Libya during last years uprising against the now ex-regime.

I counted at least 70 of these pick-ups - many looking brand new. The column also contained fuel trucks and trucks with supplies. A number of the pick-ups was carrying something covered.

My suggestions: Left: DShK. Centre: ZPU-2. Right: ZPU-1 with DShK in the background. All frames from video on yakarem1971's YouTube channel. Uploaded 10/06/2012.
The typical weapon in this video is a single barrel heavy machine gun with a small shield. One of them can be seen in the background in the centre frame below, but with this low resolution recording - and with the camera moving - I wasn't able to freeze a decent frame to show. For the same reasons it's also impossible for me other than only to suggest which specific weapon-models the pick-ups are carrying. But with that in mind:

Some of the machine guns have the ammunition in a box on the left side of the weapon which matches the DShK - a 12.7 mm Soviet/Russian heavy machine gun. This weapon has already been reported used many times during this conflict, and since it is quite common I think it is very likely to be the model of a part of these weapons.
(The DShK is no longer in production. It was replaced by the NSV which has later been modernized as the KORD. The NSV has also been seen used in the conflict).

In the centre frame above is a twin barrel heavy machine gun. This is very likely to be a ZPU-2 - a 14.5 mm Soviet/Russian anti aircraft gun. I also believe there was one or more of the single barrel version of this weapon (the ZPU-1). The four barrel version (ZPU-4) has been reported seen and also filmed earlier in Hama (go here and scroll down some).

In the frame to the left below another twin barrel weapon is seen. In this case I believe it to be the even heavier ZU-23-2, which is a 23 mm anti aircraft auto-cannon - also from the Soviet area. The weapon mounted on the grey pick-up in the centre frame - also below - looks like a recoilless rifle. My guess is that it's a 73 mm SPG-9 which fires the same ammunition as the main gun on the BMP-1 (infantry fighting vehicle). Below to the right are the pick-ups carrying something covered. It could be "just" supplies, but I believe they are some kind of weapons, both because they seem to be identical, and because trucks seem to be preferred for transport of supplies. A possibility that I see is that they are Type 63 Multiple Rocket Launchers (fires 107 mm rockets). Fragments from that kind of ordnance have been documented in several cases. (scroll down in this post to find more about both the 107 mm rockets and the 73 mm ammunitions).

My suggestions: Left: ZU-23-2. Centre: SPG-9 with DShK in the background. Right: something covered - Type 63 MRLs?. Source: video on yakarem1971's YouTube channel. Uploaded 10/06/2012.

The column in this video is in stark contrast to the columns shown in the leaked videos in the section below (from June 5.), and my immediate thoughts are that the attempt to bring these weapons to use might have to do with a number of factors. One could be that the regime has lost a large number of its BMPs and tanks. Not that I believe the number they have lost in itself is critical, but the number of tank-crews lost might have started to be.
Also since the title of the video says "...Al Shabiha reinforcements coming to Homs..." this could be seen as a way to more heavily arm this group of loyal militia-like personnel instead of risking defections by using the ordinary soldiers.

* note(added July 6. 2012): some recoilless rifles that seems to be of the 82 mm B-10 model (or copies) have been seen in videos. I now consider this a more likely candiate for the model of the recoilless rifles in this video.

leaked videos:
(added june 5.)
Weapons being moved towards Homs. A frame from "leaked" video uploaded to Mohamadfreedom92's YouTube channel 03/06/2012.

These are videos filmed from inside the Syrian army, and my main reason to post links to them is that I think they help to give an idea of the scale of the military force that is being brought against the opposition.

The locations given in the links below are what I get from Google translating the titles of the videos. The weapons mentioned are as identified by me. I have not tried to verify the locations or to establish the dates the videos were recorded, but I my mind there is no doubt that these videos are from Syria and that they have been recorded during this present conflict.


(added may 13.)

Another weapon has been seen used by the Syrian regime in Homs. It's a four wheel armored vehicle with a turret mounted heavy machine gun. The weapon is shown in a video that was linked-to in a tweet from an activist:

"Police" armored car shooting at Khaldiyah neighbourhood of Homs today. [ ] #Homs #Syria  (

A frame from video on MyAbotarek's YouTube channel showing the vehicle firing towards the camera.
In the video the vehicle is seen firing at least 15 rounds in the direction of the rather courageous camera man. To identify the vehicle I've stitched together two frames from the video in the image below, and as can be seen from the comparison it matches the Russian (or Soviet) made BRDM-2. It's is an amphibious armoured patrol car, and its main weapon is a 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun.

Apparently its blue colour and the absence of tracks are meant to make it a police vehicle. But even if such vehicles have been used for police purposes in other countries keeping on the 14.5 mm machine gun in my view makes is a military weapon. 

Left: two frames from  video on MyAbotarek's YouTube channel stitched together. Right: photo of a BRDM-2 in Polish service from Wikipedia.

According to Wikipedia, Syria is estimated to have some 950 of these vehicles, which made it a bit surprising to me that the model hasn't been seen in use more often. One possible explanation that I've come up with is that the armour of the BRDM-2 is significantly thinner than that of the BMP-1: the thickness of the armour of the hull floor is 2-3 mm and the hull sides 7 mm (also according to Wikipedia) this - I believe - makes it quite vulnerable in urban warfare. And with an estimated number of BMP-1s for Syria of 2,100 (by 2005) there have been plenty of these until now. Therefore, in accordance with what's indicated in the tweet, I see this use of the BRDM-2 as an attempt to make it appear as if the regime is complying with the Annan ceasefire agreement and not as the result of either a decreased level of tension or a lack of better armoured vehicles.

Update: May 16.
It seems the use of the BRDM-2 as a police vehicle is not a response to the Annan ceasefire "agreement". The blog Military In The Middle East have a post showing images dating back to November 10. where the BRDM-2 is shown in this configuration.

Left frame: Under "Police" the Arabic lettering can be translated literally as "maintaining security and order forces". Images and caption from Military In The Middle East.

* note: about the vulnerability of the vehicle: according to tweeter the BRDM-2 is not safe against 12.7 mm heavy machine guns.

ZSU-23-4 "Shilka"
(added april 19.)
frame from a video on SyrianDaysOf Rage's YouTube channel.

From Syria there have been several reports about the Russian made Shilka being used in urban fighting - in Homs as well as other cities.
The Shilka is a self-propelled anti air craft weapon armed with four 23 mm machine guns (or auto cannons). As can be seen in this video - said to be from the Damascus suburb Douma - it has a fast moving turret. The system also has radar guidance, but this has not been visible on any of the shilkas in the videos I've seen.

According to Wikipedia Syria has received 400 Shilkas, but there is no estimate of the number still in service.

three frames from the video linked-to above. Originally found on bolna66's YouTube channel. The video is now posted here, and is said to be from Douma, a Damascus suburb.

Chemical weapons or White Phosphorus?:
(added march 12. & 13.)

These tweet are from a Syrian activist:

: Rastan co-ord said new weapons were used today, 10 confirmed dead, they said chemical too, can anyone tell? [video from hospital
If anyone can analyse to see what was used on these people I'd be grateful - 1st time since 15th March 2011 [video from hospital posted below] 

According to the titles of the videos they are both from Al-Rastan (25 km north of Homs). And since some of the victims appear in both the video posted here and the one linked-to, I believe they are from the same attack.
I'm not able to determine what has caused the injuries to the people in the videos, but there is no mistaking the panic. The blistering and reported respiratory problems could correspond with symptoms of mustard gas, but at the moment the reports are fare too uncertain to draw any conclusions.

Another suggestion is that these injuries are from white phosphorus. White phosphorus will often cause deeper wounds, and I have tried to see if I there is any evidence of such. In the image below I point to some deeper and more sharply defined wounds, but I don't believe this amounts to proof of white phosphorus being the cause - "ordinary" burns and shell fragments still remains a possibility.
three frames: the frame to the right is from the video linked-to in the first tweet of this section. Left and centre frames are from the video posted above.
Update, April 25, 2012: 
According a source, the victims were evacuated with the intention of bringing them to a hospital in Beirut. Unfortunately they didn't manage to get there, and their current situations is unknown. However, their wounds have been further documented for investigation.
* note,  September 15, 2012: 
Since no more information about these victims have appeared, I find it most likely that it has turned out, that the wounds were caused by conventional weapons. About use of chemical weapon, then it seem to me that so fare they have not been used. This does not include some reports of suspicion of use of pesticides, but nothing has been confirmed there either. About white phosphorus; I'm looking at another video that is suspected to show use of this in the section "White Phosphorus" further down.
240 mm mortar - either M-240 or 2S4
(added february 16.)

The twitter account @Brown_Moses brought this video to my attention. The images below are screen-dumps from the video.
from video on syriapioneer's channel.
About Syriapioneer's channel: Syriapioneer was the screen-name of Syrian activist and citizen journalist Rami Ahmad al-Sayed. Sadly he was killed on february 21. this year in Homs. His channel is still kept active and receiving uploads.
This looks to me like stems of large calibre mortar rounds. And by comparing to the size of the persons carrying the ordnance-parts I can say that it has to be more than 200 mm.
Wikipedia has a list of heavy mortars. It is not long, and the only "active" mortar listed of a calibre of this size is the Russian made towed 240 mm mortar M-240 or the later self-propelled 2S4 (also 240 mm calibre).
Left: image and drawings of mortar round form British Ordnance Collectors Network. Right: image of 2S4 mortar from this video on Жека Челябинский's channel.
*note (june 25. 2012): more than one type of shell can be fired by these mortar models and I can not say if the fragments in the videos are an exact match to the one in this illustraion.

As you can read; the shell (or grenade) is about 1.5 meter long and has a weight of 130 kg with 32 kg of explosives.
According to what I have read; this is the largest calibre mortar still being used world wide. And even if it is said to have some accuracy; in this context I believe it can be categorized as an indiscriminate weapon. Probably aiming at terrorizing the people in the besieged areas through general destruction.

Stitched together frames from video on homslive YouTube channel. Uploaded 28/06/2012.
Video uploaded June 28. showing an unexploded 240 mm mortar shell without tail (image above).

Photo tweeted July 2: man holding an unexploded 240 mm mortar round without its tail. Not possible for me to say if it's the same as the one in the video.

Video uploaded July 6: showing another unexploded 240 mm mortar round and a man that gives his anger over being bombarded with such weapons free rein. This dud still has its fuze which differs from the (two) other(s). .

* please notice: even if these shells didn't explode as intended they are not safe to handle. It is not to tell why these shells didn't explode as intended, neither is it possible to know what might still cause them to detonate. Handling these is potentially extremely dangerous - and by doing so, and in some cases bringing the shells indoors, these reporters are most likely taking unnecessary risks. 
Handling of unexploded munitions should only be done by professionals anyone else should observe the ARMS guidelines:

- Avoid the area
- Record all relevant information from a safe distance
- Mark the area to warn others
- Seek assistance from the relevant authorities

- link to print-out poster and warning flags in Arabic and English from R.R.M.A. 
(notice updated December 19. 2012)
240 mm mortar updates, documentation & covering of heavy weapons:
(added march 28., may 12.,  june 13. & 28.)
Two M-240 mortars said to be used against Old Homs. The one to the left has its barrel tilted to horizontal position. From a video uploaded on march 28. to 434343aaa's YouTube channel (via and )
The frames above are from the first video documenting presence of the 240 mm mortars that I've seen. In the video there are two of the towed M-240 mortar model. It also shows at least 3 tanks at the start. The two mortars are placed West of Homs close to the Al-Waer neighbourhood at this position. It is worth noticing that all the areas in Homs that have been shelled are within the 9.5 km range of this weapon.

In a video uploaded on April 14. that I've just recently seen, the mortar to the left have been covered (image below). The video does not show the one to the right. My guess is that if it was still there it would have been filmed. Possibly it has been moved and covered. Also in this video the tanks mentioned above have disappeared. Instead a number of tanks can be seen in two buildings close by at this position.
Left frame: something covered in the exact same position as the M-240 in the earlier recording. Frame to the right: tanks hidden/parked in building. Source:  video uploaded on april 14. to 434343aaa's YouTube channel.
Video uploaded June 13: This video is the clearest recording of the M-240 being used. Both mortars are in the same position as what have been filmed earlier. During the video the mortar is being loaded - a team of five carries the 130 kg grenade - and the mortar fires at 4:05. This indicates that these weapons have been re-deployed. In this post I have looked closer at the military area where these weapons are positioned.

160 mm mortars - M160: 
(added June 8., 13. & 24.)
Frames showing the size and design of the stem. Source: video uploaded on June 7, 2012, to UgaritNews YouTube channel.
* note: the video has since been taken down, sorry.
The area where the mortars in the previous section are placed is part of a military academy and contains more artillery. Several uploaded videos are showing those positions, and in one of them a 120 mm mortar is seen firing. This video also shows two larger mortars, that I believe to be of the 160 mm M-160 model. However, until now I had not seen any evidence of this mortar being used (except for a fragment in a single video that I've lost track of). Now some evidence can be seen in a video uploaded on June 7, 2012. It is documenting the find of two mortar round stems, and by comparing to the size of the hands holding them I estimate them to be from a 82 mm and a 160 mm round. The images in this section are frozen frames from that video and show the fragment of the 160 mm round:
Frames showing markings on the stem. Source: video uploaded on June 7, 2012, to UgaritNews YouTube channel.
* note: the video has since been taken down, sorry.

I do not have the knowledge to interpret the markings in these close-ups. If anyone is able to tell, I will be very interested to know, what they mean. Please use contact links at the bottom of the post.

A video showing ordnance fragments: to the left: a clearer view of a tail from 160 mm mortar shell. Other fragments are of: centre-left: 122 mm or 130 mm artillery shell, behind-right: two tails of 120 mm mortar shells, in front: sustainer motor from a RPG-7 grenade.

Video showing a large mortar shell fragment, an unexploded artillery or tank shell and a tail from a mortar shell. As can be seen the fragment can be handled by one person, and since the weight of a 160 mm shell is about 40 kg, while a 240 mm weighs some 130 kg, this makes me lean towards the 160 mm calibre (even if some weight has been lost). Also from the measuring done with hands in the video I estimate a length of something like 80 cm. The grip of this soldier would match a figure of that size (by comparison to video of June 28. in previous section I now concider it certain that it's a 160 mm shell).
Stitced together frames from video on Syriapioneer's Youtube channel. Uploaded 28/02/2012.

* Attention: even if these shells didn't explode on impact they are not safe to handle. Handling of unexploded munitions should only be done by professionals, anyone else should observe the ARMS guidelines:

- Avoid the area
- Record all relevant information from a safe distance
- Mark the area to warn others
- Seek assistance from the relevant authorities

- link to print-out poster and warning flags in Arabic and English from R.R.M.A. (notice updated December 19. 2012)
122 mm howitzer - 2A18  (D-30)
(added on february 17.)
satellite image by U. S. Department of State

On february 10. this year U. S. Department of State chose to publish a series of satellite images showing artillery deployed by the Syrian regime against different cities. The image above is one of two related to Homs.
According to the image presented as identifying the type of artillery deployed it is a Russian 122 mm howitzer. A link to the wiki-description.

Howitzers are characterized by having a muzzle velocity of the projectile that is slower than other cannons. It fires it's projectiles (shells) at a higher angle which makes the projectile hit at a steeper angle. This makes it capable of hitting targets where the direct line of fire is blocked - in this case - by buildings. By looking at Wikipedias list of howitzers it appears that they are made in three sizes: 155/152.4 mm, 122 mm and 105 mm, with the 105 mm size being less common.

Video showing a 122 mm howitzer being fired - allegedly at Homs. (link added around June 1).
* note: The video has since been removed, sorry.

Artillery. Possibly 130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)  
(added July 28. 2012)
Three frames form a video on WAARREVOLUTION's YouTube channel. Uploaded 28/07/2012. (via @markito0171)

These three frames are from a video said to be from Homs. I have not verified it (yet) but I suspect this position is in the same area as pointed to in the section about 240 mm and 160 mm mortars. In this video one of the artillery pieces fires once. The video is shaky and blurred and recorded at a long distance, which make it impossible, for me to be certain, about what weapons exactly the video is showing, but my guess is that the artillery piece, that fires is a 130 mm towed field gun M1954. The Barrel of the field gun that fires is visible to the fare left in the first frame. One more gun, that I believe to be of the same model, is in the right side of the same frame, and in front there are two mortars, with their barrels flipped to horizontal position. I estimate them to be 160 mm but I haven't tried to make sure. To the fare left in the centre frame a third field gun that I also believe to be a M1954 can be seen, and in front, in the right frame, a fourth, that most likely is of same model too (its barrel seems a little more slim, but given the quality of the video I can't get a handle on it).

Shell fragment:
(added on february 18., june 23. & 25.)
photo to the left is via @ArabSpringFF. the drawing is from the wiki-description. (thanks to @cjcivers for the pointer)
In the photo above is a fragment of a stabilizer-stem from an artillery or tank shell. Also in the illustration; for comparison a drawing of an example of a 122 mm grenade. But please notice: the specific weapon it was fired from has not been identified.

Video uploaded June 22: this video has a lot of fragments, and among them are fragments of 122 mm artillery shells, but of models that I believe to not have had stabilizer fins. At least two weapons capable of firing that kind of rounds are known to be operated by the Syrian army: the D-30 122 mm towed howitzer shown in the previous section and the self-propelled version of the same; the 2S1 Gvozdika

Material from a number of videos showing deployment of self-propelled artillery matching the 2S1 has been studied in this post.
About artillery shells: 
(added on february 22.)
Artillery shells are NOT just oversized rifle projectiles: as can be seen in the illustration above, they are complex objects launched by a cannon, using an explosive charge. For easier understanding they could be called cannon-bombs. 

A typical shell carries an amount of high explosives (maybe 25% of total weight), which is detonated at impact by a fuse-mechanism. When the shell explodes the steel case is blown apart - fragmented - into melting hot pieces of shrapnel. And the purpose of this shrapnel is to kill or wound persons, which it does. The blast itself will also kill or wound people, but within a smaller radius compared to the shrapnel. Primarily the blast will cause material damage were it hits.

* note: this text is only to give a very basic understanding of what Homs is being subjected to. For more information on shell-types try the wiki-description.

Under bombardment:
(part of re-write 08/10/2012)  
two frames form a desperate video report on ibnbinnish's YouTube channel. Uploaded 27/03/2012.
About the reporting duo from Homs:
on April 7. the young man, Anas Al-Halawani, who did the camera work of this video was killed. He was 17.
The reporter speaking to the camera was injured trying to rescue him.
The frames above are from a video recorded in Homs(see note) during a bombardment by heavy artillery in late March 2012.

* note(added 08/10/2012): the location has not been independently verified, but I choose to believe the uploader and the activist who corroborated the information.
BM-21 Grad
(added on february 17. & 22., a flawed update from may 24. has been removed)
satellite image by U. S. Department of State
According to the photo the weapons deployed here are the Russian made multiple rocket launcher BM-21. It launches the 122 mm so called Grad missile. Here is a link to the wiki-description and here is a link to a video showing how it is operated.
Grad missiles are a continuation of a rocket type Russia/The Soviet Union began producing during WWII. Back then the Soviets nick-named it Katyucha which is still sometimes being used. In general Grads are relatively powerful, cheap to produce, fast to fire, slow to load and inaccurate.
Today's Russian Grads are about 3 metres long and weigh about 70 kg. They have a range of up to 40 km (Iran has made models with range up to 75 km). Typically they will be made to explode and fragment on impact (see description of shells above), but they can also be used to carry cluster bombs, mines or chemicals.
I haven't seen any photo-documentation of grad missile fragments found inside Homs. Katyusha rockets have been mentioned in reports, but that could possibly refer to 107 mm rockets (which have been reported). However, grads have been reported from other areas of the country:
Video from Aleppo that possibly shows use of Grad rockets. The distance to the assumed target is said to be about 13 km which according to what I have been able to find on-line exceeds the range of most variants of 107 mm rockets. Uploaded 02/07/2012.
(* note: the video linked to above has since been taken down, sorry. Originally added here 06/07/2012, link via @HamaEcho. )   
Video uploaded on September 3rd: title says the video was recorded in East of Daraa, and if so this is the first clear evidence that I've seen of use of grad missiles during the conflict. My primary basis for the identification is the cut-in shapes, that are for the hinging of the fins. This should be evident by comparing to the combined image to the right.
image sources: Left and center: frames form video uploaded to شبكة العمري نيوز YouTube channel on 03/09/2012. Right: reference photos of 122 mm rockets from here and here.
Video uploaded October 13: remains of at least three grad rockets. Title states the location to be in the Daraa Governorate (link via @Brown_Moses).

Video uploaded October 14: remains of at least two grad rockets. According to the title they are reported from Al-Hrakh, East of Daraa. Such fragments look very similar and I haven't examined the recordings to exclude that this and the previous recording aren't of the same fragments. But the titles put them in different villages (link via @Brown_Moses).

Video uploaded November 14: remains that could match a grad rocket at 1:00. The channel the reporter is known to cover Talbiseh 12 km North of Homs, where the recording is tilted to have been done.

Video uploaded December 3, 2012: the video is titled to be from the Idlib governarate and it shows remains which seems to match a grad rocket (the diameter of the tube could match the 122 mm of the grad, but my primary reason to be convinced is the cut out pattern at one end of the largest piece (see also illustration above)).

* note(added 08/10/2012): this section earlier had an update from May 24. In it I thought to (almost) be able to identify use of grads in videos recorded in Homs around March 2012. I had to go back on that shortly after. I have now removed that update.
73 mm rocket, RPG-7 and more:
(added february 23., february 28. & may 21., june 20.) 
screen-shot from France 24, february 22/23.
The image above is a screen-shot from France 24, february 22/23. A group of Syrian opposition fighters/defenders in Homs showed some of the ordnance fragments they have collected. I have tried to find out which weapons they are from. Any help on those I haven't managed will be welcome: 
A: In this image there are fragments of at least 4 of this type or ordnance, and it turns up in many videos from Homs showing ordnance fragments. I'm quite sure it is from a munition like the one in the image below. If so; then it's a 73 mm tank gun grenade (some say rocket). Here is a link to a Pakistani version. I have also noticed that the Russian/Soviet made  BMP-1 (an infantry fighting vehicle) has a 73 mm gun. And since the BMP-1 have been in several videos I believe those are the ones that have been firing them.
This type of ammunition can also be fired by the SPG-9 recoilless rifle (and it's possible copies). 
Left: Two pieces of Fin Stabilised Rocket Assisted High Explosive Anti-Tank ammunition. Image from video on Videosdoouma's YouTube channel. To the right: A  BMP-1. Image from Military Discovery.

The BMP-2 is also supposed to have been bought by Syria, but in much smaller numbers: Syria is estimated to have recieved 100 of those in the late 80s (Wikipedia). The main difference to the BMP-1 is that the 73 mm main gun is replaced by a 30 mm auto cannon.   Imagegy from France24 of a BMP-2 deployed in Damascus. The tank in front of the BMP is either a upgraded T-72 or one of the newer Russian models. (link added on July 17. 2012.)  
B: stabilizer from an RPG-7 (Rocket Propelled Grenade, mainly used against tanks and other armoured vehicles). In the image I see 3 or 4 of these, and from other videos there seem to be a lot of them. No surprise.
C: sustainer motor from an RPG-7 grenade/rocket. 
D: tail end of a 73 mm PG-9. This too is main gun ammunition for the BMP-1. Notice the two broken off fins in the center frame below. Fragments of this ammunition seems to be less common than those of the previously shown 73 mm tank gun grenade (marked "A"). An explanation for this could be cost: by the look of it this type of ammunition appears much more sophisticated in design and must be significantly more expensive to produce.
(by early 2013, another ammunition, that looks very similar to this, has started to appear. It's the ammunition for the  M60 recoilless rifle (82 mm). I have only seen some video footage of these, and from that it seems a few details differ. Also the over all impression is of a grenade that is a little less slim. But pay attention).
Left: part of U. S. Army public domain drawing from Wikipedia. Centre: tail-end fragment and loose fins. Right: persumably the damage made by the grenade/rocket. The frozen frames are from video on UgaritNews's YouTube channel.
* note: this video has since been taken down, sorry.
E: I don't expect to be able to identify this one. It seems to me like it's some kind of aluminium tube with holes that have been cracked and partly flattened. The original diameter of this part can not have been more than about 5 cm. and it has an unusual colour. I would not be surprised to learn that it is from the rear-end of some kind of small missile/rocket.  
* note: actually RPG does not stand for Rocket Propelled Grenade. The initials are the Latin version of the Cyrillic initials for Hand-held Anti-tank Grenade-launcher (via , drewthat, tektwo & slaw ).
107 mm rocket and more:
(added february 27., april 15. & may 17. & 22.)
photo tweeted by @ArabSpringFF on february 8.

A: Fragments of mortar stems similar to this have been shown very often in videos from Syria. Therefore since I started to compile reports of what weapons are being used by the regime against the opposition I have been interested in knowing more about this specific shell-model. But even if it seems to be very commonly used by the Syrian regime I haven't been able to match it on-line, nor have I seen anyone else identifying the model.
Frames from a video filmed in Homs and documenting damages caused by mortar shelling. Uploaded on April 4. to 434343aaa's YouTube channel.

The frames above are from a video documenting the damages caused by the shell, and from looking at it, it seems to me that the damages are caused by a fragmentation round and that it detonated on impact (from the scattered holes in the exterior of the building on the other side of the street, and the more concentrated damages to the surface of the street).
Also; from comparing to the hand holding the fragment I estimate the "diameter" of the fins to be more than 100 mm and less than 150 mm, which to my knowledge will make it a shell for a 120 mm mortar. And in that case the shells are likely to have been fired by the Russian made 2B11 Sani. (please see note 1)
Further more; since it is being used that much and in a way that doesn't seem to require a lot of precision (note 2) - and also from the look of the design - I expect it to be a "quantity product" rather than one of quality. Another video (see frames below) is showing a mortar tail section that looks very similar except for the black band on the fragment above. It has the same colour, the shape of the fins are the same and the pattern of the holes in the stem matches too.
The title of the video calls the green part to the left an "unknown projectile", but according to Australian weapons specialist Nic Jenzen-Jones (aka @RogueAdventurer) it's a 120 mm parachute flare type illumination round - the "IL" in the centre frame below is for "illumination" and a parachute-like thing can be seen on the ground in the frame to the left.
A 120 mm flare type illumination round, shown in a video uploaded on March 3. to syriamonitoring's YouTube channel. Location stated: Zabadani (west of Damascus)
* note: this video has since been taken down, and I haven't been able to find a kopi. Sorry.
Since the tails of these two different types of mortar rounds are that similar, I see it as a possibility that they are from the same manufacturer, and any information pointing to origin would be of great interest. 
* note 1 (June 25. 2012): I read somewhere that the M-43 - the predecessor of the 2B11 - is in the Syrian weaponry and more over Wikipedia does not list the 2B11 as operated by the Syrian army. Therefore if this model is still in service it would be another likely possibility.
* note 2: It is my general impression is that this weapon is being used to terrorize the population rather than being aimed at military targets, and I find this somehow confirmed by the seemingly casual way the mortar in this analysis is operated. 
B: I believe the holes in this disc are the nuzzles from a 107 mm rocket. A similar part turns up in this video (at about 1:02).
C: these two parts seems to match a 107 mm rocket that have been identified by New York Times journalist C. J. Chivers in this blog post. Here is a video to get an idea of how such a rocket works. And another that I just couldn't resist linking to. Apart from flying in the general direction it is pointed, it looks to me like this weapon has very little precision, which will make it an indiscriminate weapon in this context. video with 107 mm rocket, said to be from Syria. video (leaked) with firing of 107 mm rockets from Latakia, Syria.
D: when comparing this to the one marked "C" there is no doubt this is of a larger calibre. To my knowledge there are only two to choose from (more or less): 122 mm and 152.4 mm. And since I believe the step up to the 152.4 mm to be too large I'm leaning towards this being from some kind of 122 mm calibre shell or rocket.

Homs' War Museum:    
(added september 8th 2012)

Video: Like in Misrata during the Libyan uprising ammunitions, used by the regime, are being put on display. Most of the ordnance fragments in this video have been identified in the different sections of this post, but there are two models that I want to added here.

 - ENERGA anti tank rifle grenade:
frame at 2:13 min. from video on معرض الحج بشير للقذائف والشظايا الحربية YouTube channel. Uploaded 22/06/2012. Thanks to @RogueAdventurer for ID'ing the weapons.

This is an anti tank grenade that is fired from the muzzle of a rifle. The model is originally produced in Belgium from around 1950, but I don't have the expertise to say anything about where or when this particular grenade is manufactured.

On New York Times' war correspondent C.J. Chivers' blog, The Gun, you can read an insightful introduction to rifle grenades as a phenomenon (with the M31 rifle grenade as starting point). In the post you'll also find a link to a discussion on the International Ammunition Association's forum, that has some in depth knowledge exhange about the ENERGA model(reference added 24/11/2012 or so).

- RPG-7 thermobaric warhead TBG-7V:
two frames from video on معرض الحج بشير للقذائف والشظايا الحربية YouTube channel. Uploaded 22/06/2012. Thanks to @RogueAdventurer for help with weapons ID.

The RPG-7 is among the most common weapons in the conflict, but the typical warhead is the shaped charge anti tank warhead (PG-7V). The thermobaric warhead, and thermobaric weapons in general, are news to me. In the post Fuel air bombs? Evidence from Talbiseh I study some strong evidence, that large thermobaric bombs have been use by the government air-force against Talbiseh (about 10 km North of Homs).

* Please notice: several of the displayed munitions are unexploded, which means they still represent a potential danger of exploding.
Handling of unexploded munitions should only be done by professionals anyone else should observe the ARMS guidelines:

- Avoid the area
- Record all relevant information from a safe distance
- Mark the area to warn others
- Seek assistance from the relevant authorities

- link to print-out poster and warning flags in Arabic and English from R.R.M.A. (notice updated December 19. 2012)
White Phosphorus*:
(added september 8, 2012. updated January 1, 2013)
Left: a frame from video on x1Syrian's YouTube channel, uploaded 16/04/2012, said to be from Homs. Right: frame from US military training video. both videos via @Bejohnboy70.

A video was sent to me by the tweeter @Bejohnboy70. He believed it showed exploding white phosphorus munitions, and during our discussion he produced a US military training video. The explosions in the training video have white trails fanning out from the impact, which to me, looks very similar, to what is seen in the video (said to be) from Homs.

Wikipedia - about white phosphorus.

Update, January 1, 2013:
In this post from December 17, 2012, N.R. Jenzen-Jones points to the above linked-to video as appearing to show use of white phosphorus, but with the location still unverified (see note).

Since then a version of the video in higher resolution (possibly the original upload) has been found. This version has a stated location as al-Qarabis, Homs, and it also shows the (striped) minaret clearly.
(thanks to @Guardian_Mario and @samersniper for making me look for the video and for linking to the location).

On the basis of this information I was able to gather some more material, and I believe to have verified the location of the minaret.

more videos:
Recording from same position as above video #1, uploaded April 15, 2012.
Recording from same position as above video #2, uploaded April 14, 2012. 
Recording from same position as above video #3, uploaded April 9, 2012.
fire at the mosque, uploaded April 3, 2012.
smoke close to minaret, uploaded April 14, 2012. 

photos consolidating the location as the stated area in Homs:
panoramio photo with striped minaret #1 
panoramio photo with striped minaret #2 
panoramio photo with striped minaret #3
frame from high resolution video with minaret
flickr photo-set, links videos #1, #2 & #3 to known landmark-ruin 

the mosque
matching of WP recording
matching of panoramio photos
making the argument would be a post in it self, but if you need it feel free to contact me, and I'll mail you my work sheet.

* note: this section ties the recordings to the location in Homs, but in the way N.R. Jenzen-Jones expresses his opinion I still read a caveat in relation to whether or not the ID as white phosphorus is conclusive.
Cluster munitions?:
(added february 24. & 27.)
From video uploaded 23/02/2012 to syriapioneer's YouTube channel.

Two frames stitched together showing a series of explosions said to be from the same shell or rocket.
Below I have pasted a twitter-dialogue, trying to identify this new weapon. Cluster bombs are mentioned, but from the video linked-to by @ArabSpringFF it seems to me that the number of sub-munitions is lower and more separate than usual cluster bombs:
@ArabSpringFF:  New weapons being used to shell Baba Amr. A rocket which separates into multiple explosive parts to cause maximum damage.
@Brown_Moses: Cluster munitions? Any photos or video of the remains would be extremely useful, people get really pissy about them. 
@ArabSpringFF: Here's the video [ YouTube link ] I'm not sure what it is, but the explosions all come from one round/rocket.
@Brown_Moses: Compare the noise to this aircraft launched cluster bomb [ YouTube link ] sounds fairly similar 
@ArabSpringFF: I think it might be some sort of cluster mortar.
@Brown_Moses: Well the 240mm mortars they are using certainly have a cluster warhead. 
@ArabSpringFF:  It could be them, but they make a much louder explosion. Syria stockpiles cluster munitions, hopefully they aren't being used.
My observations:
- 4 separate sounds of explosions: 1. louder than the three following. Explosions 2, 3 & 4 sounds the same both in level and "structure".
- smoke looks like it rises from at least two places, with more smoke rising from the place to the left. This could correspond with some kind of multiple warhead weapon.

* note: at the time I did not think of including the time stamps of the tweets but they are from either February 23. or 24.

(added february 26. & 27.)

On February 24. some tweets came out from Homs mentioning drones being used: 
@javierespinosa2: - bombings intensified when the drone appears in the sky, an Israeli tactic which I had already seen in Gaza #Homs #Syria  
@javierespinosa2: - some journalist should investigate from where came these drones I never heard syrian army had such devices #Homs #Syria -
from this video on humanflycb's channel.
The report is supported by a video filmed in Kafr Batna (east of Damascus) on February 14.   
What kind of drone it is exactly is hard to determine from the video. On the blog Open Source GEOINT, where I first saw the video, someone has managed to freeze a couple of frames, and some possible manufacturers are considered. There is also a link to the Military Photos forum, where the sighting is being discussed as well, and the Military Photos member, Backpacker, suggested the Iranian drone called Pahpal (images below) as a possible match (and I agree).
images from Iran Defence Forum

For more information on this; aviation journalist David Cenciotti have made a post on the subject.
Confirmation, March 25:
- in a new post David Cenciotti has collected videos an frozen frames, that I consider as confirmation of Syria using the Pahpal.

Further substantiation, July 23:
- Open Source GEOINT has made new findings that points to the Pahpal being operated from an airbase 30 km South East of Homs.

Update, September 30th:
- Pahpal video-reported from Talbiseh just North of Homs. Video uploaded on September 21th, 2012.

Update, November 9, 2012:
- Pahpal video-reported from Hamouriyah, Damascus. Video uploaded November 9, 2012.
* note: the video linked to has been taken down, but this video could be another upload of the same recording.

Update, November 11, 2012:
- Pahpal video-reported from Jisreen, Damascus. Video uploaded November 10, 2012. (link via @masssdall)

Tank shelling
(added March 31.)

On March 30, a video said to be from Homs was linked-to in a tweet by .  The image below contains four frames from that video: the first frame - I believe - is showing smoke after a tank shell fired (at sec 0:01), the next three frames are showing shells fired (at sec 0:13, 0:41, 1:17).
Four frames from a video originally found on hoole19's YouTube channel. The video is now posted here.

My guess is that the tank is a T-72, but the resolution of the video is too low for me to exclude it being another of the Russian T-models. Assuming it's a T-72 it will most likely have a 125 mm smooth-bore main gun, and it could be firing shells similar the one in the image below. More examples can be seen here.

It is not clear to me what has happened up to the start of this recording, but during the video there are no sounds of other weapons being fired or any other signs of provocations. Global Security estimates the number of T-72s in service in Syria to be about 1600. The estimated numbers for T-62 and T-55 are about 1000 and 2250 respectively.

left: frame from the same video as linked to above. Right: image and drawing of 125 mm tank shell from here.

Update, May 16:
I believe now that I have managed to identify the tank in the video. It's a T-62.
The main gun on this model is a 115 mm smooth-bore, which means, the tank and shell in the image above are a mis-match.
Another image of a T-62 is posted below. This image is also from Homs, and according to the up-loader the tank is positioned on the edge of the Baba Amr neighbourhood.

A T-62 tank on the edge of Baba Amr, Homs. The T-62 and the T-55 both have five road wheels, but the T-62 has larger gaps between the last three wheels while the T-55 has a large gap between the first and second. Image source: engahns546's Panoramio account.

The image above is from the Panoramio account of one of several local photographers uploading photos with mapped positions. In the same account I have found a photo with three tanks on a location close to where Baba Amr borders to the Inshaat neighbourhood in Homs.
The one to the right is a T-72. The tank in the middle is some kind of road clearing vehicle based on the T-72, and from what I can see of the one to the left it's a T-72 as well.

Two T-72 tanks and a T-72 based road clearing vehicle in Baba Amr, Homs. The number of road wheels is the easiest way to tell the T-72 apart from the T-62 and T-55. Image source: engahns546's Panoramio account.

Uidentified artillery or tank shell casing:
(added april 11. & may 21.)

This tweet is from a Syrian activist and contains links to three sets of images documenting the destruction in Homs.

Take a tour of destroyed Homs. Inshaat [] & []. The least damaged area of Baba Amr [].

image uploaded to arabspringff's flickr photostream on march 14, 2012.

The image above is the last in the first set of photos. Given that the ordnance part shown in the image seems to have been found inside the city, my guess is that it's the casing from a tank round.
The calibres of Syrian tanks are; T-55: 100 mm, T-62: 115 mm and T-72: 125 mm. I would estimate the calibre to be more than 100 mm, which would make to be from either a T-62 or a T-72 tank round. If someone can read what is written on the casing a more solid identification might be possible.

The markings on the shell casing - seems like Cyrillic letters to me.

* note: if this is from a tank round, then - before firing - it would have had a projectile/grenade like the one in the previous section (tank shelling) inserted in the narrow part of a casing. The lower part of the casing would then contain the propelling charge, while the projectile contains high explosives that detonates on impact.  ..

* general note (added June 25. 2012): unless something else is mentioned all of these identifications are on my account and made only by comparing to on-line available material. Therefore please make sure to apply your own judgement. Relevant in this context is to notice that dates of recordings of the videos in general have not been independently verified. The same goes for locations except in the few cases where references are made to specific positions.

Map of Homs indicating intensity of protests in the by autumn 2011(link added 29/09/2012).  

The blogger Brown Moses is compiling material on weaponry of the Syrian opposition  forces on his blog.  

relevant posts on this blog:
M5 highway, Aleppo - Damascus - (Homs on the map)
- Rastan
mortar position, Homs
- Syria: Local photo sources.  

- any corrections and additions are welcome - either as a post-comment or to my twitter account.


Anonymous said...

When an evil and corrupt regime uses these kinds of weapons against civilians, what has it in store for its enemies.? Assad and his thugs would not even dare face IDF soldiers, they know better than that. So all that Iranian and Syrian regime talking about 'liberating' the Golan heights is just rubbish. Assad still doesn't get it: it's a matter of time...

Anonymous said...

You know, Its not enough the Fact that Russia sold and supplied Assad With these weapons, Not only, but the brutal force with which Assad is using them is just inhuman. Its understandable that Syria is a culprit for Global Crisis politically, But this is not an excuse to turn a Blind eye to all the people that are dieng there. You know the words "people are Dieng" is overrated until you have seen what the Syrian people are living through. It is Just unbelievable and inhuman. Bashar al Assad's Incredible violent response is just intolerable. The People are getting Shelled Daily with standard military equipment turning this into a All out war against his own People. 250 Killed in one Day? Really Assad?
What next? The mass murder and Displacement of people next?

Lets put aside Media and propaganda for a bit. While the west and East Bicker about resolutions on Syria, Assad and his forces are Pounding peoples homes, and this is not a Literate Word, This is Reality. Assad and his Trained army Are indiscriminately Shelling A town.

This is a ALL out War against His People and Is going to Turn into a Humanitarian DISASTER. Mark my words.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the great effort ...